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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Poplarville, Mississippi » Southern Horticultural Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #230596

Title: Evaluation of Cuphea Species for Traits of Ornamental Value

item Pounders Jr, Cecil

Submitted to: Southern Nursery Association Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/11/2008
Publication Date: 12/7/2008
Citation: Pounders Jr, C.T. 2008. Evaluation of Cuphea Species for Traits of Ornamental Value. Southern Nursery Association Proceedings 53:190-194.

Interpretive Summary: In recent years several ornamental forms of cuphea have been marketed as summer bedding plants and/or perennials adapted to the heat and humidity of the southeastern U.S. Selection of additional species and hybrids with superior adaption would provide new products for the nursery industry and provide consumers with alternatives to poorly adapted plant material for the South. Cuphea species which apear to have potential for improvement for utalization for summer color in the Gulf South include C. glutinosa, C. splendida var. viridiflava, C. angustifolia and C. micropetala

Technical Abstract: A number of cuphea species and clones, particularly in the Cuphea taxonomic sections Heterodon and Melvilla, with various ornamental traits were evaluated under environmental conditions prevalent in the Gulf South. Conditions include full sun and overhead irrigation typical of container production environments in the region. Under such conditions C. ignea and C. cyanea have grown very poorly or died. A number of species including C. lutea, C. viscosissima , C. lanceolata, C. wrightii , C. tolucana and C. lanceolata have grown well but flowering traits and growth habits in the unimproved species have poor horticultural interest . Plants of C. angustifolia and C. micropetala are particularly robust but are short day flowering species with little summer interest. The growth habit of C. glutinosa is ideal for hanging baskets but the bloom size is small without the flowering intensity of C. hyssopifola. The color range of flowers is most diverse in C. procumbens with a range of pastel shades, reds and purples. A recently introduced species, C. splendida var. viridiflava, appears to have great potential as an ornamental because of compact growth habit and abundant display of nice white flowers throughout the growing season.